BAYLOR FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK – Baylor University Athletics
Baylor Bear Insiders
In a Baylor defense returning their entire front along with linebackers Dillon Doyle and Matthew Jonesthe secondary is really the only area that has holes to fill in the 2022 season.
Gone is the All-American security Jalen Pitrethe leading listener of the Big 12 Conference (JT Woods), the hero of the Big 12 Championship game (Jairon McVea) and cornerbacks Kalon Barnes and RaleighTexas.
Safety for fifth year seniors Christian Morganwho made 10 starts in weak safety last season said the two groups were “completely different”.
“We have our strengths and weaknesses,” said Morgan. “It really just depends on how much you work. Last year’s group really came in and worked. I won’t say that this group will be any better. We have to come in and work every day.”
Second cornerback AJ McCarty said what sets this year’s secondary apart is “our energy with our coach because coach (Kevin) Curtis is a real energetic guy and he always wants us to be energetic too.”
“He doesn’t expect anything less, so he’s always trying to motivate us,” McCarty said. “I really believe that the positive energy in our group helps us bring that to the pitch.”
TRADING PLACES: AlWalcott and Lorando “Snaxx” Johnson were Sugar Bowl starters at Cornerback and Nickelback, respectively, but they basically switched places.
Johnson replaced Pitre in the hybrid STAR position in the spring, but he was cornered while Walcott is now in the STAR.
“Lorando just has so much speed and athleticism,” said the third-year head coach David Aranda said. “He brought physicality with him from the start. But there was that need for skill and speed on the edge and he’s doing well there.”
Walcott, who made eight corner starts last season and hit a 96-yard interception return in the Sugar Bowl win over Ole Miss, “is a ballhawk and is always around.”
“I think he has great physicality,” Aranda said of Walcott. “Last year he was one of our better blitzers from a corner. We took the corner pretty far. His transition to the STAR position was easy.”
Morgan said he saw “a lot of Pitre” in Walcott, “just a bigger version of him. He’s really instinctive, fast, a playmaker with really good ball skills, a complete package.”
‘ROBBERS AND JACKERS’: Since “Take Three” was implemented by Texas Tech’s freshman year head coach Joey McGuire when he was on the Baylor defense staff, the Bears’ new motto for generating revenue has been “robbers and jackers.”
A year ago, Baylor ranked seventh nationally in earnings for a Big 12-best 28 (19 interceptions and nine fumble recoveries).
“I think it’s our own creativity and the way we go about it,” Junior Safety said Devin Neal, the projected weak security starter. “Obviously the ‘Take 3’ movement used to be a thing but we’re making something new of ourselves… Forcing turnovers is really what sets everything going. We’ve got a wonderful offense and we’ll do anything to get the ball get their hands on it again.”
McCarty rotating with Johnson and Senior Mark Milton At the cornerback positions, Robbers and Jackers said, was a training focus that “gets us to attack the ball even more and be more aggressive so we can put it in play.”
FASTEST GPS TIME: Dating back to the 2014 season, McCarty recorded the fastest GPS time in program history with a mark of 22.8 (mph) during Saturday’s scrimmage at McLane Stadium.
McCarty, who won the 2019 4A state championship in the triple jump at Brownwood High School with a score of 47-6, said he “ran quite fast.”
“I’m almost there,” he said. “I know I’ll be reaching for 23 (mph) during the season. With the adrenaline and all that, hopefully I can do it.”
PRACTICE PLAN: Baylor will complete the second of six straight days of practice on Tuesday, capping his second full week with a scrimmage on Saturday morning at McLane Stadium.
As a reminder, all practices are closed to the public.
Baylor’s annual “Meet the Bears” event is scheduled for Saturday, August 27 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. where student athletes and coaches from most of the 19 intercollegiate sports will sign autographs in McLane Stadium’s Main Concourse.
Single game tickets for the 2022 season are now publicly available. Baylor will play the University of Albany in the first of six home games on September 3 at 6 p.m. at McLane Stadium.